Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Samantha's latest book


So pleased to report that How to be Happy, The Little Book of Peace (for your soul) is NUMBER 1 on the Kindle bestseller list! #1 in the Alternative Medicine category and #2 in Personal Transformation. Thank you to everyone!

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Oak pulled the Scots Fir over....

...and promised everything would be alright.

Photo copyright SvD. This is one of my favourite photos.

Barnes & Noble are stocking How to be Happy!

Barnes & Noble (!!) is now selling How to Happy, The Little Book of Peace (for your soul). I am so thrilled. The first review is very encouraging too.

Barnes & Noble:


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your best wishes!


Watch out soon for my next book: hint: it’s about food!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Oppportunity is everywhere.

Some people see a pile of manure, I see an opportunity.

Soak manure in rain water or spring water for six weeks starting in late October/early November. The resulting dark syrup is then used thus: dilute in ten parts water and pour around the roots of rose bushes. You will be rewarded with magnificent blooms the following Spring.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

My book for sale on Amazon.

Dear friends,

My book, Maestro, has now been published in print form and is available on Amazon. Here’s the link:

There is also a kindle version of the book on Amazon.

For every book sold (in Kindle version), I donate 25% of my royalties to charity.

With best wishes,


Thursday, 11 October 2012


The steps we must take to improve ourselves are plain to see so how can we get lost?

Photo copyright SvD.

Change is hard.

I had the budleia pruned back yesterday- a necessity at this time of year which is known as 'end of season'. New shoots will emerge in the Spring and the budleia will flourish once again.

The family of house sparrows which is accustomed to popping into the budleia every day for their feed of suet balls and a dip in the hanging birdbath were totally confused this morning. They looked at the cropped bush and although their feeder and birdbath were in exactly the same location on the same branches as before, they hesitated before revisiting their familiar haunts.

The blue tits did exactly the same thing. The only one who appeared nonplussed was the robin (if you have read this blog before you will recall that the robin is a determined and steely little fellow).

If I'm lucky, I'll see the reaction of the male blackbird who drops by every afternoon for a nap in the budleia. He perches on a branch deep within the bush and remains completely still for at least an hour. I assume he is sleeping.

Change is not always easy. It can be good and sometimes it is absolutely necessary.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Bittersweet Yew.

The yew is a remarkable enigma- the foliage is poisonous, the bright red berries are temptingly sweet and the tree is an enduring symbol of religion. The bright red berries (arils) contain a single seed that is as poisonous as the foliage. One of my dogs used to love nothing more than laying on her stomach in the woods and munching on fallen yew berries. She would gorge on the arils but spit out the deadly seeds. Who taught her this? How did she know not to bite into the seed- I mean, Labradors eat everything! The yew is traditionally planted in churchyards and many are reputed to be more than 1,000 years old and I know of one (in Surrey) which is still standing and which was mentioned in the Domesday Book.

We live in a remarkable country where there is ancient and hidden mythology and folklore that is part of our history. Do explore our green and pleasant land.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

When you literally can't believe your eyes.

Here is the pollinated flower with dried seeds of the wild cow parsley. This plant looks identical to hemlock (as in Socrates) which is deathly poisonous. Both grow wild in our British woods.

How does one tell them apart? With great difficulty. Try not to eat either and you'll be safe.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A promise is forever.

I recently signed this pledge with the founder of Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidjh, because I admire her for the selfless work she does. Camila is an example to us all. I decided a long time ago that I would like to give something back. Hence the reason that I decided to pledge 25% of my book's royalties to Kids Company.

Please help me achieve this aim by purchasing a copy of my book, Maestro, (kindle version) on amazon. The price of the book is a very modest £1.96 ($3.18).


Here's what Camila says:

‘Kids Company is very short of money. The numbers of children seeking sanctuary with us has gone up and many of them are arriving at our street-level centres hungry and without anywhere to live. We currently have a waiting list of 500 children who need beds, we feed 2000 kids a week their main meal, and some 8000 severely traumatised children are receiving psycho-therapeutic help from our staff. So please, help us.
97% of children and young people who come to Kids Company self refer and therefore there is no local authority funding for them. In fact in the last 16 years Kids Company has had no money from local authorities for our social care and mental health work with vulnerable children, so we are entirely reliant on charitable donations and the good will of the public. The extraordinarily courageous and inspirational children and young people we work with remain profoundly grateful for the help they have received from complete strangers. Please buy as many copies of Maestro as you can and tell your friends about it. I cannot thank Samantha enough for her kind offer. With your help the money we will receive from Maestro could change the lives of disadvantaged children for many years to come plus provide KIDS COMPANY the security it needs to help kids.’